BERLIN (AP) – Lawmakers in Germany are discussing a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate as the country hit a new record for the number of recently confirmed cases on Thursday. Still, some government officials are in favor of easing the restrictions.
The country’s disease control agency reported 294,931 new cases within the last 24 hours. The Robert Koch Institute said there have been a further 278 COVID-related deaths, which has taken the toll since the start of the pandemic to 126,420.
A final decision on an initial proposal to make vaccinations compulsory for all adults in Germany is not expected until several weeks from now. Opponents of this measure have proposed mandatory vaccination only for people over 50, while others reject the idea altogether.
Despite the fact that the infection rate is far higher than in many neighboring countries, government officials have defended plans to let some of Germany’s restrictions expire on Sunday.
“It is a step towards normality and I say that is what we need,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner told public television station ARD.
The government wants to let Germany’s 16 states decide for themselves where targeted restrictions are required, rather than introducing nationwide rules.
Germany’s powerful industrial lobby group BDI warned of a “generous” repeal of measures, saying it would be irresponsible in light of the rise in infections.
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